The BC Prosecution Service’s decision to dismiss the private prosecution of Mount Polley Mining Corporation over the province’s worst environmental disaster in history is being met with anger and disbelief.
The Crown announced the decision to take over and quash the charges laid by Bev Sellars, Grandmother, former Chief of Xat’sull First Nation (Soda Creek), author, and indigenous advocate, in a press release Tuesday.
“The decision in this case was made after a full and careful review of the information and materials provided by counsel for the private informant, and with awareness that a formal investigation into the Mt. Polley Mine incident is still ongoing,” the public prosecutor stated in the release.
“After conducting its review, the BCPS concluded that the material provided does not meet the charge assessment standard for approval of charges.” Mount Polley Mining Corporation’s parent company Imperial Metals is a major BC Liberal donor, having even donate generously to former premier Christy Clark’s leadership run.
Many had hoped that a change in government would pave way for the people responsible for the disaster to be brought to justice.
Sellars laid private charges against the company on Aug. 4, 2017 – which was the deadline for provincial charges to be laid, to keep the door open for the Province to take over the prosecution, although Sellars was prepared to proceed on her own if necessary.
“It is my duty as a Grandmother to protect the environment for future generations. Indigenous people’s law stresses that you have to take care of the land for generations ahead. I pushed the pause button by pressing charges against Mount Polley before BC’s statute of limitations ran out,” said Sellars.
“Instead of the Crown taking over and holding Imperial Metals to account and bringing justice for this disaster, they have failed to act. They have failed First Nations, failed the people of BC, and failed future generations.”